Maui residents Cornelis Feenstra and Yaemi Yogi were recognized as the winners of the 2017 Outstanding Older Americans awards issued annually by the County of Maui Department of Housing and Human Concerns’ Office on Aging.
Cornelis Feenstra was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands but has called Kīhei, Maui his home for a number of years. He survived imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, and following the war he participated in relief efforts, human rights campaigns, blood drives and fundraising for war victims. Many years later, he became an electrician and supervised workers. He retired at age 62 and devoted his time to volunteering for organizations such as the Good Neighbors Club by providing rides for people to their medical appointments, Maui Medical Center Aloha Committee by visiting with patients, and the Kīhei Adult Community Center by engaging in social activities with members. Cornelius, who is now 93, has also been a regular blood donor for over 48 years. His favorite pastimes include playing games, swimming, sailing and storytelling. He continues to fundraise and write letters for causes he believes in. He has two daughters and numerous grand- and great-grandchildren.
Yaemi Yogi is described as fearless, talented and goal-oriented. She worked for Maui Land and Pineapple Co. as a full-time clerk and records coordinator. She has acted in bit roles in movies on Maui such as “Get a Job,” playing a feisty old lady, and in a recent production of the “Vagina Monologues.” Now, at 91 years of life, she enjoys volunteering and making peoples’ lives brighter and lighter. For the past 17 years she has volunteered with Kaunoa Senior Services (senior congregate dining) and at the Maui Adult Day Care Centers. At the day care, she assists with maintaining office records, handling correspondence and performing other office tasks. People who know Yaemi say she is generous, kind, humorous and adventurous. In her early 80s, Yaemi started a “bucket list” and to date she has parasailed, ridden on a motorcycle, paddled in an outrigger canoe, ziplined and gotten a tattoo. In addition to completing her bucket list, Yaemi lives in Kahului and enjoys line dancing, going to the movies and traveling with her daughter and grandson.
Additionally, Precila Peros was awarded the “Boots on the Ground” Award and Dorothy Tolliver received the “Lifelong Learning” Award.
Precila Peros is 71 years strong, a nurse by training, and lives in Wailuku. She has been a volunteer for 21 years with Nā Hoaloha – Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a non-profit volunteer organization that assists the elderly primarily with friendly visiting and transportation. In addition, Precila has served at St. Ann’s Church in Waiheʻe baking bread monthly to help with church expenses and organizing the annual rummage sale. She served as Membership Chair and Scholarship Committee Co-Chair for the Bantay Association of Maui. Whether she’s helping families in need of clothing, food, rent assistance and school supplies every year, Precila is usually the first to step up. She was trained by Nā Hoaloha to assess the risk for falls with the seniors that she visits/assists. Precila has a great philosophy about volunteering and the good it does to benefit the whole community, no matter how small or insignificant the deed may seem. Precila enjoys raising orchids and gardening. She is married, has two children and three grandchildren.
Originally from New York, nominee Dorothy Tolliver, 80, now resides in Wailuku. She has a background in the arts and enjoys reading and travel. Her volunteer history reflects the passion she has for reading and literacy. She has served as President and is now a board member of the Maui Friends of the Library. Likewise, she remains a board member with the Maui County Library Association. Her accomplishments include successfully securing funding for library programs and a new bookmobile for Maui. She was President and Board member of Active Now Wellness Center from 2003-2006 where she assisted seniors in learning exercise to restore and maintain their body and mental health. She established and was on the board of the Suzie and Mitch Katz Jewish Library, which is situated in the Kīhei Public Library. This achievement has afforded the community a wealth of information pertaining to Jewish history, culture, cuisine and literature. Dorothy is married, has two sons and a grandchild.
The awards were presented at a luncheon on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at the Kīhei Community Center in conjunction with the national observance of Older Americans Month, which honors older Americans for their significant contributions to communities across the nation.
Since 1963, Older Americans Month has been a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories and their contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living, the annual observance offers a special opportunity to learn about, support and recognize our nation’s older citizens. Older adults in Maui County have been celebrated for their contributions and achievements every year since 1968.
Judges for this year’s awards were members of the Council on Aging: David Spicer, Lois Prey and Vivian Lindsey.